She’s kept a low-profile since running away with the Korean Derby in May but on Sunday evening, Sangseung Ilro, holder of the first two legs of the Triple Crown, returns to her own ranks when she lines up for the Korean Oaks at Busan Race Park. If she wins, she’ll go back north to Seoul and the Minister’s Cup in October to race not only for the Triple Crown but also, with the Oaks included, what’s being termed the “Grand Slam”.
Can anyone beat her tomorrow? Probably not. Most see Pangpang, who ran fourth in the Derby and has kicked on since as being her closest rival. Of the others, Leading Velocity has won at class 2 level and Suryeohan has come close – as has Haneul Gisang. Lady In Gala looks to have plenty of potential. All look weak in a form guide alongside Sangseung Ilro.
Eiki Nishimura, who partnered Sangseung Ilro to her unexpected win in the KRA Cup Mile was jocked off for the Derby. With the race being run in Seoul, many believed that the notoriously strong Seoul Jockeys’ Union had been behind pressure on owner and trainer to replace the Japanese rider with a local one for Korea’s biggest race. Jo Sung Gon rode her flawlessly on Derby day and no blame is attached to him for what went on behind the scenes, but Eiki is back on tomorrow. It’s a well earned opportunity for a quiet rider who, afer a tough beginning in Korea, has worked to become one of Busan’s best jockeys.
The trainer is Kim Young Gwan. Currently presiding over Busan’s best string – he also has Namdo Jeap and Miss Ecton in his care – Kim also sends out Haneul Gisang. She will be ridden by Martin Wepner. After an unfortunate series of events led to Wepner walking out of Seoul – and almost Korea – before he was due to ride Namdo Jeap in the Derby, Kim stepped in and offered Wepner the job of stable jockey. While Wepner won’t ride Namdo Jeap again, with Haneul Gisang likely to be battling for the place positions, we could see another Kim Young Gwan, Eiki and Wepner 1,2.
The race is off at 19:15 under the lights at Busan and will be simulcast to Seoul Race Park. Here is the full list of runners, records and riders:
Korean Oaks (G.II) – Busan Race Park – 1800M – Aug 9, 2009 – 19:15
1. Rose Cat [Creek Cat – Rose Bouton (Somethingdifferent)] – (9/2/2/1) – Yoon Tae Hyuk
2. Suryeohan [Commendable – Diamond Star (Dixieland Band)] – (9/2/2/2) – Chae Gyu Jun
3. Lady In Gala [Didyme – Phlox (Just Like Jo)] – (10/2/1/) – Park Geum Man
4. Hanmoe [Tahamkke – Wolmunsabang (Didyme)] – (12/1/2/3) – Lee Sung Jae
5. Haneul Gisang [Duality – Birrali (Rutland)] – (7/2/3/0) – Martin Wepner
6. Solar City [Ft. Stockton – Taeyangsan (Mujaazif)] – (9/0/1/4) – Jo Sung Gon
7. Hero Age [Buster’s Daydream – No Dle Seum (Brave Regent)] – (10/0/2/0) – Jung Si Won
8. Pangpang [Revere – Awishnotalark (Rio’s Lark)] – (15/3/1/1) – Han Sang Gyu
9. Sangseung Ilro [Concept Win – Ms. Whiskey (Whiskey Wisdom)] – (7/5/1/1) – Eiki Nishimura
10. Leading Velocity [Fiercely – Barefoot Runaway (Strike Gold)] – (11/3/2/1) – Jo Chan Hoon
11. Naechingu [Creek Cat – Roberto’s Flame (Green Dancer)] – (7/1/1/4) – Jo Chang Wook
12. Hwangjeui Seonmul [Social Charter – She’s A Bridesmaid (Chromite)] – (13/2/2/0) – Kim Eu Su
On the undercard of the Oaks is the International Lady Jockey Invitation Race. Most see it as being a straight fight between the two Kim Young Gwan horses Namdo Jeap (Park Jin Hee) and Miss Ecton (Laura Cheshire). Nine others will have something to say about that. The Invitation race is off at 18:10 and will also be simulcasted to Seoul.